Latin America stands with Gaza

July 27 — Solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom and self-determination has long been strong among Latin Americans. With many having lived decades under rightist regimes, they identify with the fight against state repression. Now, their success bringing popular governments to office gives them confidence in victory and strengthens that solidarity.

Since the latest criminal U.S.-Israeli attack against Gaza, there have been many demonstrations, pronouncements, petitions and other actions, often weekly, expressing firm solidarity with the Palestinian people in almost every country of South and Central America and the Caribbean. Organizers say that as long as the genocide continue, so will the protests.

In several countries demonstrations have united unions, students, women, peasants, the Indigenous, Afro-descendants, LGBT peoples, artists, academics, etc., all behind one common goal. Artists and young collectives use their creativity to expose Israel’s crimes and Washington’s support.

In Brazil, for example, demonstrators projected slogans at night on the walls of the Israeli and U.S. embassies. Huge banners cross an entire street and educational forums about Palestine, videos, documentaries, poetry, music and all forms of arts are used to express the outrage and the solidarity. People call for boycotts, sanctions and divestment, including academic sanctions.

In Trelew in Argentina’s Patagonia region, a broad coalition including the Landless Movement marched under the slogan: “We are all Gaza.” They took down the Israeli flag and raised the Palestinian. When the Trelew government restored the Israeli flag, the coalition wrote a protest statement, recalling the Trelew people’s heroic history of struggle, including facing massacres. “The dignity of this people is intact, as is the flag of Palestine that will fly again high on our sky,” they wrote.

Every progressive writer has written on Gaza. Eduardo Galeano’s essay circulates on the Internet. Nobel Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel just wrote a call to end the Israeli military attack, block military trade with Israel, apply sanctions like the ones against apartheid in South Africa and give humanitarian aid to Palestine while recognizing it as a sovereign state, independent and free.

Narciso Isa Conde, a revolutionary from the Dominican Republic, wrote in a commentary, “I hope that Hamas and the Palestinian resistance organizations can impart to Israel a similar political-military defeat that Hizbullah dealt when it invaded Lebanon.”

Government actions

Not content with words alone, the government of Venezuela acted, handing over a shipment of medicine for Gaza during an event in Cairo commemorating the 62nd anniversary of the revolution in Egypt. Last spring the Bolivarian Republic signed an agreement to send diesel fuel to Palestine and increase cooperation in political, educational, economic and trade areas. President Nicolás Maduro stated: “We must act and prosecute those who are killing the Palestinian people.”

Both Venezuela and Bolivia broke relations with Israel after the 2008-2009 bombardment of Gaza.

Bolivian President Evo Morales and Cuba’s Fidel Castro have strongly condemned the criminal massacre.

Cuba has long supported the Palestinian people, this time calling on the international community at the U.N. to demand that Israel cease the attacks. Palestinians at the Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon who had studied in Cuba, commemorated the 61st anniversary of the Cuban youth’s attack on the Moncada barracks on July 26, which was the first blow of the revolution. They also expressed their immense gratitude to the “permanent solidarity of Cuba with the Palestinian cause.” (Prensa Latina, July 27)

Nicaraguans inaugurated a mural celebrating 34 years of relations with Palestine. The mural has the images of common martyrs — Palestinians who died fighting in Nicaragua and Nicaraguans who died fighting for Palestine.

Ecuador, Chile and Brazil have recalled their ambassadors in Israel. Israel reacted by labeling Brazil an irrelevant and dwarf country. Brazil’s government responded, stating that it will bring the issue up for discussion and support at the Mercosur meeting on July 29 in Caracas. The Mercosur common market includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Organizations in Latin America are demanding their governments break all relations with Israel. Those countries that still have trade and relations with the criminal state are under enormous popular pressure to end them, even those who have condemned the genocide in words.

Miguel Mejía, the Secretary General of the United Left Movement of the Dominican Republic, who was invited to the third Congress of the United Socialist Party in Venezuela on July 26-28, plans to ask President Maduro to promote a resolution in Mercosur to break relations with Israel.